In December of 2015, I moved into a tiny apartment deep in the heart of New York City. There's not a single day that goes by that I don't wonder what in the world made me make that decision. It's loud and a little scary sometimes and way too expensive for any sane person. But it was time to find a little corner of this world to call my own, and New York was the home that my heart recognized 10 years ago. The first time my polka dot-shoed feet and 18 year-old wide eyes hit the grimy streets and vibrant colors of this city, I knew I was never going to recover.
Now that I actually get to call this city "home," I'm falling even more in love. There's one unexpected thing that I really love about New York. People rarely ask where you're from. Turns out, almost no one is actually "from" here. But we all want to be. As a result, questions are carefully crafted: When did you move here? Where do your parents live? Where are you from originally? These qualifiers are a balm to this third culture kid's heart who has a minor form of post-traumatic stress related to the question, "Where are you from?"
However, I'm starting to dread the next question almost as much.
"So, what do you do?"
The same awkward pause.
The same deer-in-headlights look.
“Well-I-moved-here-because-I-kinda-work-everywhere-or-anywhere–[laugh]–I'm-a-third-culture-kid-do-you-know-what-that-means?-No?-Well-let-me-tell-you-obviously-I'm-really-passionate-about-this–oh-a-guy- named-David-Pollack–MK–TCK–re-entry–culture-shock–intentional-ministry–Kaleidoscopes-make-beautiful-patterns-out-of-broken-pieces-[deep breath]–did-that-make-sense??”
Somewhere in the middle of my incessant babbling, their eyes glaze over, and it becomes abundantly clear that no, in fact, that does not make sense at all.
I've always been a talker. I was never going to excel at the elevator pitch. I know I get excited and explain far more about my life than people want to hear. So, as I enter this time in life where our careers define us, slowly but surely I'm learning to casually say, "I run a non-profit."
1. I run Kaleidoscope...
Which in turn runs on coffee, glitter, Google hangouts, GIF-filled staff group messages, and an enormous team of people who have believed in this dream since before I could even articulate it.
2. I like to think I also run this staff team that’s spread out all over the U.S.–but I'm pretty sure they run me.
My girls bring the brightest moments to my workdays. They keep me laughing and sane (most of the time). They're basically Hermione Granger clones. They work way too hard and seem to conjure anything I ask in a snap of their fingers. They're also the most loyal, loving, laughter-filled-–not to mention some of my very favorite--people.
3. The best part of Kaleidoscope is the weeklong programs at missions conferences that look a lot like vacation bible school or summer camp...
Except we learn that while some cultures and people are yellow, and some are blue, third culture kids are green. Also, someone usually ends up covered in green paint. Okay, they're a lot like summer camps.
4. When it looks like I'm on vacation, I'm actually leading Kaleidoscope volunteer teams at these conferences.
I'm currently the resident Conference Coordinator. This title is up for grabs if anyone out there feels like getting paid to stay tan all year long and eat a steady diet of goldfish crackers. Does it sound like I'm joking? I'm not joking. Apply now.
5. In my spare time, I come up with out-of-the-box ideas like Kaleiders & Scopes.
This is where we will share ministry updates, affectionately known as "Scopes," and where you TCKs, TCK parents, or enthusiasts can share your stories. That's the "Kaleider" part. Whether you're a writer, photographer or interpretive dancer, this is your stage to tell your story. hmu.
I started Kaleidoscope because I wanted to see TCKs grow up to be the best they can be. I didn't realize that they would challenge me to be the best I can be, too.